A newly released biopic, Gotti, starring John Travolta, has hit the tanks in the eyes of movie critics. The film is based on the infamous Italian-American gangster, John ‘Teflon Don’ Gotti, and his life as a mob boss and family man from the 1970s until his death in 2002.
The movie lists over 20 producers, and took the better half of a decade to complete. Gotti‘s journey to the screen was epic in of itself including a revolving door of directors including Barry Levinson, Nick Cassavetes, and Joe Johnston, and actors including Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Unfortunately, John Travolta and his crew once again join the list of movies with a Rotten Tomato rating of 0% with his latest apperance in Gotti.
However, it doesn’t just end there. After the intial 0% review from film critics, the film received thousands of audience reviews that seem to wildly contradict those of the critics. Users from around the internet were quick to noticee the large disparity on Rotten Tomatoes between the audience approval score of 80% and the 0% critics’ score during the film’s opening weekend.
On June 19, Dan Murrell of Screen Junkies noted that the disparity “made no sense” and suspected vote manipulation on behalf of the studio. The film was compared in reviews to another box office release, The Incredibles, who budgeted out to be over $180 million more than Gotti. Despite the major budget difference, somehow Gotti received close in number to the same amount of reviews as The Incredibles, about 7,000 or so user reviews.
The team behind Gotti took the opportunity and promoted the movie as an underdog – “Audiences loved Gotti but critics don’t want you to see it… The question is why??? Trust the people and see it for yourself!”
Upon review, Rotten Tomatoes confirmed that the reviews were legitimate. “We closely monitor our platforms and haven’t determined there to be any problems,” the company said in a statement. “All of the reviews were left by active accounts.” However, according to a Reddit user who examined the RT reviewer accounts, accounts seemed to be specifically made for reviewing Gotti. Although the accounts were active, many were recently created and only reviewed Gotti.
The film opened up to 1.7 million dollars in 503 theaters, with MoviePass accounting for 40% of the tickets sold, leading some to believe that the studio may have purchased it’s own tickets as well.
Dennis Rice, who spearheaded marketing for Gotti, responded by saying “The movie performed very well in New York, Los Angeles, and the five cities John Travolta and Kelly Preston toured (Phoenix, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, and Philadelphia) and we will most likely expand in those cities. That shows the power of publicity. What is shocking to me is that 80% of audience members on Rotten Tomatoes and 4 out of 5 of them on Fandango liked the film. Clearly critics are out of touch with the people who actually vote with their pocket books. It makes me wonder if the press and critics don’t want a movie to succeed because they incorrectly think we are glorifying John Gotti.”
Is it a bad case of the reviews, or is there truly something devious about the marketing of Gotti?
Gotti is out in theaters now – find out for yourself!
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